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Student F.A.Q.

What is the AA

The AstrumArgentumis an occult order founded by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones in 1907, dedicated to spiritual evolution, heir to the Order of the Golden Dawn that operated strongly between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Its basis is Christian and Jewish mysticism, being a mixture of several elements, including Eastern ones.  The most striking influences are Kabbalah, Yoga and ceremonial magic.  The Order has the Law of Thelema as the central moral code.

How does it work?

The Order consists of eleven degrees or levels, organised into three groups, the Orders of the S.S., the R.C. and the G.D. respectively.  In the AA, blind is not blind guide and progress is measured by this series of degrees.  A person is admitted by an Instructor who is at least one degree ahead in the system.  This person in turn responds to her instructor and so on in sequence along the degrees.

Individual work?

The first purpose of the Order is to confer Initiation and the second is to prepare persons for initiation by instructions.  But it is not a system of group or collectivities.  It is a method of individual training and development.  The student progresses in self-knowledge and gradually matures into spiritual awareness and awakens to the Great Work.

Is there a cost?

AA is an order of purely spiritual principles and therefore there are no financial costs: there are no fees, gloves or monthly fees.  Experience has shown that there is no action that does not induce a corresponding reaction, therefore, the association involves the investment of time and space to devote ourselves to unravel intrinsicities of our True Nature.

Next steps

The person who is prepared to enter into a lifelong relationship to magic and mysticism must first acquire a basic knowledge of the subject in which he will dive.  He should begin by becoming a "Student of Mysteries", familiarising himself with the instructions of the AA and the classics about occultism and religion.

What is the "Student of the Mysteries"?

From its beginning, the AA philosophy supports the admission of any persons interested in the instruction and practice of the "Scientific Enlightenment".  That is, anyone can write to the AA and request contact with a Neophyte, who (if everything agrees) will admit him as a Student.

The Student of Mysteries program was introduced in 1912, with publication in The Equinox Vol. I No. 7, as follows:

"Due to the unnecessary tension cast on the Neophytes by unprepared people totally ignorant of the basics taking the Oath of the Probationer, the Imperator of AA, under the seal and authority of VVVVV, commands that all persons wishing to become a Probationer of the AA must first spend three months as a Student of the Mysteries.  He must possess the following books: [...] (See: Student Curriculum of the A.A.)  An examination of these books will be done.  The student should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge in them, but not necessarily understand them in any deeper sense.  Upon passing the examination, he may be admitted to Probationer's degree."

What is the Student Curriculum?

Many believe the correct Student Curriculum is the one published in The Equinox Vol. III No. 1 (Blue Equinox), containing a series of seven or eight dozen occult classics.  This expanded curriculum is of considerable importance, however, it is not the primary curriculum of the Student of Mysteries of the AA. As the text itself makes clear:

AA does not offer exam in this course, but recommends the books shown above under Student Curriculum of the A.A. as the basis of a library.

How to Advance Through the Grades?

To put it more generally, a person who is prepared to enter into a lifelong relationship to magic and mysticism must first look for something on the subject.  He must educate himself in the classics, absorb the most popular literature, and develop a sufficient basis to understand and participate in a reasonable discussion of such matters.  Once he has that basis, and has shown willingness -- or rather, enthusiasm -- to invest time and effort into the subject, he may be admitted to Probationary Degree.  For further information regarding the requirements of all grades see Structure & Grades Within the Order.

[Source: AstrumArgentum]

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Astrum Argentum AA


George Cecil Jones was the man responsible for introducing Aleister Crowley to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G.D.) in 1898.  Shortly after returning from China with his wife Rose, Crowley became ill and stayed with Jones to convalesce.  With Jones' assistance, and as a result of his own travels and experiences, plus the small matter of his expulsion from the Order, Crowley decided to form his own Order with the intention that it would not only supersede the remnants of the G.D., but would actively promote his Religion / Philosophy of Thelema.  Together they wrote Liber LXI vel Causae (Crowley’s own account of the G.D., its breakup and how the AA came to be formed), and in 1907 founded a new Order, the Astrum Argentum AA based on the Book of the Law.

Crowley only ever referred to the organisation as the AA; what the letters stood for was supposedly known only to members.  Israel Regardie in Gems from the Equinox suggests it should be Astrum Argentinum, while others call it Argenteum Astrum, Arcanum Arcanorum, Argentinum Astrum, Argentinium Astrum and Astron Argon, although C.R. Cammell, who knew Crowley very well in his later years, in his own biography Aleister Crowley The Black Magician tells us it is Atlantean Adepts.  However, the consensus of opinion seems to be Astrum Argentum, so that is how it will be referred to throughout.

Unlike the AA, the G.D. was primarily a teaching order, preparing people to do magick in its Inner Order.  The AA, on the other hand, assumed that its members were either already trained in the arts or were undergoing the necessary training from their immediate superiors.

This new Order was considered to be remarkable for the originality of its structure, for unlike previous Orders, which tended to follow a lodge system, members were supposed to know only their immediate superior, plus, of course, anyone they introduced to the organisation.  While the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) has received the majority of the publicity as the Order which actively follows and promotes the teachings of the religion of Thelema, it was primarily designed to be a fraternal organisation (until a member reached the highest degrees) while the AA was to be the major mode of transmitting Crowley’s magical and mystical techniques and beliefs.  See Liber XXXIII - An Account of the AA.  This publication was based on a part of Karl von Eckhartshausen's Cloud upon the Sanctuary which Crowley rewrote and edited to further describe his new Order.

There were no regular group rituals, although measures were taken to ensure the identity of the Officers were hidden during the few Temple initiation rituals, and members were expected to work alone, consulting as and when required with their superior in the Order.  In this way it was hoped to avoid the many social complications and ego problems that led to the downfall of the G.D.

The AA was a spiritual organisation focussing on enlightening an individual, with an emphasis on maintaining the chain of initiates from teacher to student.  & nbsp;A member of the AA would strive to do the following:

  • Discover for himself his own True Will, and then act upon it, and do nothing else.
  • Accept the Book of the Law as the sole Rule of Life.
  • Acknowledge that 'The word of the Law is Thelema' and that 'Love is the law, love under will'.
  • Acknowledge the authority of the offices of the Beast 666 and that of the Scarlet Woman.
  • Accept Ra-Hoor-Khuit as the Lord of the Aeon, and work to establish His reign upon Earth.
  • Work to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel.
  • After attaining the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, to enter into the Abyss, and to emerge again therefrom.

On pages 660 - 661 of his Confessions, Aleister Crowley tells us, "In the AA, which is a genuinely Magical Order, there are no extravagant oaths.  The candidate is pledged quite simply to himself only, and his obligation binds him merely 'to obtain the scientific knowledge of the nature and powers of my own being'.  There is no penalty attached to the breach of this resolution; yet, just as this resolution is in contrast with the oaths of other orders in respect of simplicity and naturalness, so also with regard to the penalties.  To break away from the AA does actually involve the most frightful dangers to life, liberty and reason.  The slightest mistake is visited with the most inexorable justice.

What actually happens is this.  When a man ceremonially affirms his connection with the AA he acquires the full powers of the whole Order.  He is enabled from that moment to do his true will to the utmost without interference.  He enters a sphere in which every disturbance is directly and instantly compensated.  He reaps the reward of every action on the spot.  This is because he has entered what I may call a fluid world, where every stress is adjusted automatically and at once.

Thus, normally, suppose a man like Sir Robert Chiltern (in An Ideal Husband) acts venally.  His sin is visited upon him, not directly, but after many years and in a manner which has no evident logical connection with his offence.  If Chiltern had been a probationer of the AA, his action would have been balanced at once.  He had sold an official secret for money.  He would have found within a few days that one of his own secrets had been betrayed, with disastrous consequence to himself.  But furthermore, having switched on a current of disloyalty, so to speak, he would have found disloyalty damaging him again and again, until he had succeeded in destroying in himself the very possibility of ever again being disloyal.  It would be superficial to regard this apparently exaggerated penalty as unjust.  It is not sufficient to pay an eye for an eye.  If you have lost your sight, you do not stumble over something once; you keep on stumbling, again and again, until you recover your sight.

The penalties of wrong-doing are applied not by the deliberate act of the Chiefs of the order; they occur in the natural course of events.  I should not even care to say that these events were arranged by the Secret Chiefs.  The method, if I understand it correctly, may perhaps be illustrated by an analogy.  Suppose that I had been warned by Eckenstein always to test the firmness of a rock before trusting my weight to it.  I neglect this instruction.  It is quite unnecessary for Eckenstein to go all over the world and put unreliable rocks in my way -- they are there; and I shall come across them almost every time I go out climbing, and come to more or less grief whenever I meet them.  In the same way, if I omit some magical precaution, or make some magical blunder, my own weakness will punish me whenever the circumstances determine the appropriate issue.

It may be said that this doctrine is not a matter of Magick but of common sense.  True, but Magick is common sense.  What, then, is the difference between the Magician and the ordinary man?  This, that the Magician has demanded that nature shall be for him a phenomenal mode of expressing his spiritual reality.  The circumstances, therefore, of his life are uniformly adapted to his work."

The Temple and headquarters of the AA were situated in a rented flat in Victoria Street, less than a quarter of a mile from Buckingham Palace.  The rituals and teachings of the Order were originally those of the G.D., but rewritten in a less esoteric form, with Yoga and other oriental practices added, which Crowley had studied and learnt during his travels.  He realised that all religions and traditions were interwoven, all having similar historic traditions and fables such as the Great Flood, and integrated those teachings and philosophies with the Western traditions.  To begin with the only members were the two founders, Crowley and Jones (who did not take an active role), but it was not long before people were flocking to join.  Among the first were Captain J.F.C. Fuller and Victor Neuburg.

Between 1909 and 1914 Crowley published The Equinox, the cover bearing the two phrases The Aim of Religion and The Method of Science.  He considered this work to be the first to forward the method of science and the aim of religion with scholarship and common sense.  Two issues were published annually, one on each of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.  During this five-year period, ten voluminous issues were produced each one containing a selection of poetry, plays, short stories and material relating specifically to the occult.  These ten combined to complete Volume I.

After publication of the second issue, The Equinox was prosecuted by Mathers for revealing some of the rites of the G.D.  Mathers obtained an injunction preventing future issues, but Crowley won an appeal and was awarded costs in a famous court case in March 1910.  No further issues were published during the war years, a ‘period of silence’ as Crowley put it.  Following the war, he published one large volume in a blue cover, which became known as The Blue Equinox.  Lack of funds prevented any subsequent issues of The Equinox from being produced.

The major reason for the publication of The Equinox was to use it as a vehicle to promote the AA, and as a platform to voice his opinions and attitudes towards the G.D.  The majority of the material is irrelevant for genuine students of the occult, but that which is deemed important has been selected and edited by Israel Regardie (Crowley's one-time secretary) and published in Gems from the Equinox.

In 1910 another act designed to bring Crowley's new organisation into the public eye was the performance of the Rites of Eleusis at Caxton Hall, Westminster.  The Rites of Eleusis, a series of seven public invocations or rites written by Aleister Crowley, centred on each one of the seven classical planets of antiquity (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury and Luna).  The rites were performed by Crowley, Leila Waddell on violin, and Victor Neuburg in October and November.  Crowley claimed that the rites were designed to inspire the audience with 'religious ecstasy', and that simply reading them would help people to 'cultivate their highest faculties'.  Not surprisingly, the popular press of the day thought otherwise, and considered them an immoral display riddled with blasphemy and erotic suggestion.  Nevertheless, the AA did get some good advertising press from it.

Following these performances, Horatio Bottomley of John Bull magazine and De Wend Fenton of The Looking Glass magazine started to delve into Crowley’s past.  The following is an extract from The Looking Glass on 29 October 1910, referring to The Rites of Eleusis:

Excerpt from The Looking Glass                        dated 29 October 1910


We propose under the above heading to place on record an astounding experience which we have had lately in connection with a sect styled the Equinox, which has been formed under the auspices of one Aleister Crowley.  The headquarters of the sect is at 121, Victoria Street, but the meeting or séance which we are about to describe, and to which after great trouble and expense we gained admittance under an assumed name, was held in private at Caxton Hall.  We had previously heard a great many rumours about the practices of this sect, but we were determined not to rely on any hearsay evidence, and after a great deal of manoeuvring we managed to secure a card of admission, signed by the great Crowley himself.  We arrived at Caxton Hall at a few minutes before eight in the evening - as the doors were to be closed at eight precisely - and after depositing our hat and coat with an attendant were conducted by our guide to the door, at which stood a rather dirty looking person attired in a sort of imitation Eastern robe, with a drawn sword in his hand, who, after inspecting our cards, admitted us to a dimly lighted room heavy with incense.  Across the room low stools were placed in rows, and when we arrived a good many of these were already occupied by various men and women, for the most part in evening dress.  We noticed that the majority of these appeared to be couples - male and female.  At the extreme end of the room was a heavy curtain, and in front of this sat a huddled-up figure in draperies, beating a kind of monotonous tom-tom.  When all the elect had been admitted the doors were shut, and the light, which had always been exceedingly dim, was completely exhausted except for a slight flicker on the "altar".  Then after a while more ghostly figures appeared on the stage, and a person in a red cloak, supported on each side by a blue-chinned gentleman in some sort of Turkish bath costume, commenced to read some gibberish, to which the attendants made responses at intervals.

Our guide informed us that this was known as the "banishing rite of the pentagram."

More Turkish bath attendants then appeared, and executed a kind of Morris dance round the stage.  Then the gentleman in the red cloak, supported by brothers Aquarius and Capricornus - the aforesaid blue-chinned gentlemen - made fervent appeals to Mother of Heaven to hear them, and after a little while a not unprepossessing lady appeared, informed them that she was the Mother of Heaven, and asked if she could do anything for them.  (She may be seen in the photograph on page 140 sitting on the chest of "the Master" - Mr Crowley - and apparently endeavouring to perform some acrobatic feat.)  They beg her to summon the Master, as they wish to learn from him if there is any God, or if they are free to behave as they please.  The Mother of Heaven thereupon takes up the violin and plays not unskilfully for about ten minutes, during which time the room is again plunged in complete darkness.  The playing is succeeded by a loud hammering, in which all the robed figures on the stage join, and after a din sufficient to wake the Seven Sleepers the lights are turned up a little and a figure appears from the recess and asks what they want.  They beseech him to let them know if there is really a God, as, if not, they will amuse themselves without any fear of the consequences.  "The Master" promises to give the matter his best attention, and, after producing a flame from the floor by the simple expedient of lifting a trap-door, he retires with the Mother of Heaven for "meditation", during which time darkness again supervenes.  After a considerable interval he returns, flings aside a curtain on the stage, and declares that there is no God.

He then exhorts his followers to do as they like and make the most of life.  "There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment, and no reward.  Dust we are, and to dust we will return."  This is his doctrine, paraphrased.  Following this there is another period of darkness, during which the "Master" recites - very effectively, be it admitted - Swinburne’s "Garden of Proserpine."

After this there is more meditation, followed by an imitation Dervish dance by one of the company, who finally falls to the ground, whether in exhaustion or frenzy we are unable to say.

There is also at intervals a species of Bacchie revel by the entire company on the stage, in which an apparently very, young girl, who is known as the "Daughter of the Gods," takes part.

On the particular occasion we refer to the lights were turned up at about 10:15, after a prolonged period of complete darkness, and the company dispersed.  We leave it to our readers, after looking at the photographs - which were taken for private circulation only, and sold to us without Crowley’s knowledge or consent, and of which we have acquired the exclusive copyright - and after reading our plain, unvarnished account of the happenings of which we were an actual eye-witness, to say whether this was not a blasphemous sect whose proceedings conceivably lend themselves to immorality of the most revolting character.  Remember the doctrine which we have endeavoured to faintly outline - remember the periods of complete darkness - remember the dances and the heavy scented atmosphere, the avowed object of which is to produce what Crowley calls "ecstasy" - and then say if it is fitting and right that young girls and married women should be allowed to attend such performances under the guise of the cult of a new religion.

New religion indeed!  It is as old as the hills.  The doctrines of unbridled lust and licence, based on the assumption that there is no God and no hereafter, have been preached from time immemorial, sometimes by hedonists and fanatics pure and simple, sometimes by charlatans whose one thought is to fill their money-bags by encouraging others to gratify their depraved tastes.

In the near future we shall have more to say about this man Crowley -- his history and antecedents -- and those of several members of the sect -- and we also hope to be in a position to give a description of the "happenings" at the flat in Victoria Street on the occasion of what we may call "private matinee performances."

The Looking Glass in particular started to print more and more outrageous reports about Crowley, and more importantly, his friends and allies such as Allan Bennett, of whom it was said conducted unmentionable immoralities with Crowley.  Fuller advised him to sue but he chose not to as he considered the magazine to be unimportant.  Eventually Jones sued the magazine because, although not mentioned specifically, he considered he was implicated through his association with Crowley.  Crowley sat in the gallery throughout the trial, which Jones lost, refusing to testify.  After the trial, membership of the AA declined, but from 1913 it began to recover, two new recruits being Nina Hamnett and the socialite Gwendoline Otter.

When Crowley became the leader of the O.T.O., that organisation became the outer order of the AA.  The emblem incorporates the symbols of the AA and the O.T.O.  The outer portion, known as the septagram, is the symbol of the outer order representing the ceiling of the Vault of the Adepti (5° = 6° grade), and the symbol of Babalon.  Using the Hebrew system of gematria, Babalon enumerates to 156.  A mathematical formula containing seven sevens

was devised by Crowley to represent this number.  Babalon is a known holy name of Binah, corresponding with the High Priestess of the Tarot, whose title in Thelemic Tarot decks is 'Priestess of the Silver Star'.

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Liber LXI vel Causae - AA

Together with his initial proposer for membership of the G.D., George Cecil Jones, Aleister Crowley wrote this account of the formation and breakup of that organisation, and explains how and why the Astrum Argentum AA, his own organisation based on the Book of the Law, was founded.

The Preliminary Lection Including The History Lection

The Preliminary Lection

In the Name of the Initiator, Amen.

  1. In the beginning was Initiation.  The flesh profiteth nothing; the mind profiteth nothing; that which is unknown to you and above these, while firmly based upon their equilibrium, giveth life.
  2. In all systems of religion is to be found a system of Initiation, which may be defined as the process by which a man comes to learn that unknown Crown.
  3. Though none can communicate either the knowledge or the power to achieve this, which we may call the Great Work, it is yet possible for initiates to guide others.
  4. Every man must overcome his own obstacles, expose his own illusions.  Yet others may assist him to do both, and they may enable him altogether to avoid many of the false paths, leading no whither, which tempt the weary feet of the uninitiated pilgrim.  They can further insure that he is duly tried and tested, for there are many who think themselves to be Masters who have not even begun to tread the Way of Service that leads thereto.
  5. Now the Great Work is one, and the Initiation is one, and the Reward is one, however diverse are the symbols wherein the Unutterable is clothed.
  6. Hear then the history of the system which this lection gives you the opportunity of investigating.  Listen, we pray you, with attention: for once only does the Great Order knock at any one door.  Whosoever knows any member of that Order as such, can never know another, until he too has attained to mastery.

Here, therefore, we pause, that you may thoroughly search yourself, and consider if you are yet fitted to take an irrevocable step.  For the reading of that which follows is recorded.

The History Lection

  1. 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.
  2. 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 the instructions received, an Order was founded which worked in a semi-secret manner.
  3. 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.
  4. Shortly after this, one called S.R.M.D. announced that he had formulated such a link, and that himself and two others were to govern the Order.  New and revised rituals were issued, and fresh knowledge poured out in streams.
  5. 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 for anyone to fail therein. Unsuitable candidates were admitted for no better reason than that of their worldly prosperity.

In short, the Order failed to initiate.

  1. Scandal arose and with it schism.
  2. 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.
  3. He discovered that S.R.M.D., though a scholar of some ability and a magician of remarkable powers, had never attained complete initiation: and further had fallen from his original place, he having imprudently attracted to himself forces of evil too great and terrible for him to withstand.

The claim of the Order that the true adepts were in charge of it was definitely disproved.

  1. In the Order, with two certain exceptions and two doubtful ones, he found no persons prepared for initiation of any sort.
  2. He thereupon by his subtle wisdom destroyed both the Order and its chief.
  3. Being himself no perfect adept, he was driven of the Spirit into the Wilderness, where he abode for six years, studying by the light of reason the sacred books and secret systems of initiation of all countries and ages.
  4. Finally, there was given unto him a certain exalted grade whereby a man becomes master of knowledge and intelligence, and no more their slave.  He perceived the inadequacy of science, philosophy, and religion; and exposed the self-contradictory nature of the thinking faculty.
  5. Returning to England, he laid his achievements humbly at the feet of a certain adept D.D.S., who welcomed him brotherly and admitted his title to the grade which he had so hardly won.
  6. Thereupon these two adepts conferred together, saying: May it not be written that the tribulations shall be shortened?  Wherefore they resolved to establish a new Order which should be free from the errors and deceits of the former one.
  7. Without Authority they could not do this, exalted as their rank was among adepts.  They resolved to prepare all things, great and small, against that day when such Authority should be received by them, since they knew not where to seek for higher adepts than themselves, but knew that the true way to attract the notice of such was to equilibrate the symbols.  The temple must be builded before the God can indwell it.
  8. Therefore by the order of D.D.S. did P. prepare all things by his arcane science and wisdom, choosing only those symbols which were common to all systems, and rigorously rejecting all names and words which might be supposed to imply any religious or metaphysical theory.  To do this utterly was found impossible, since all language has a history, and the use (for example) of the word <> implies the Scholastic Philosophy and the Hindu and Taoist theories concerning the breath of man.  So was it difficult to avoid implication of some undesirable bias by using the words <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, or any other to designate the body of initiates.
  9. Deliberately, therefore, did he take refuge in vagueness.  Not to veil the truth to the Neophyte, but to warn him against valuing non-essentials.  Should therefore the candidate hear the name of any God, let him not rashly assume that it refers to any known God, save only the God known to himself.  Or should the ritual speak in terms (however vague) which seem to imply Egyptian, Taoist, Buddhist, Indian, Persian, Greek, Judaic, Christian, or Moslem philosophy, let him reflect that this is a defect of language; the literary limitation and not the spiritual prejudice of the man P.
  10. Especially let him guard against the finding of definite sectarian symbols in the teaching of his master, and the reasoning from the known to the unknown which assuredly will tempt him.

We labour earnestly, dear brother, that you may never be led away to perish upon this point; for thereon have many holy and just men been wrecked. By this have all the visible systems lost the essence of wisdom.

We have sought to reveal the Arcanum; we have only profaned it.

  1. Now when P. had thus with bitter toil prepared all things under the guidance of D.D.S. (even as the hand writes, while the conscious brain, though ignorant of the detailed movements, applauds or disapproves the finished work) there was a certain time of repose, as the earth lieth fallow.
  2. Meanwhile these adepts busied themselves intently with the Great Work.
  3. In the fullness of time, even as a blossoming tree that beareth fruit in its season, all these pains were ended, and these adepts and their companions obtained the reward which they had sought.  They were to be admitted to the Eternal and Invisible Order that hath no name among men.
  4. They therefore who had with smiling faces abandoned their homes, their possessions, their wives, their children, in order to perform the Great Work, could with steady calm and firm correctness abandon the Great Work itself: for this is the last and greatest projection of the alchemist.
  5. Also one V.V.V.V.V. arose, an exalted adept of the rank of Master of the Temple (or this much He disclosed to the Exempt Adepts) and His utterance is enshrined in the Sacred Writings.
  6. Such are Liber Legis, Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente, Liber Liberi vel Lapidis Lazuli and such others whose existence may one day be divulged unto you.  Beware lest you interpret them either in the Light or in the darkness, for only in L.V.X. may they be understood.
  7. Also He conferred upon D.D.S., O.M., and another, the Authority of the Triad, who in turn have delegated it unto others, and they yet again, so that the Body of Initiates may be perfect, even from the Crown unto the Kingdom and beyond.
  8. For Perfection abideth not in the Pinnacles, or in the Foundations, but in the ordered Harmony of one with all.

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Continuation of the Order

Since Crowley’s death in 1947 there has been no universal Chief of the AA.  Karl Germer was the senior living member at the time of his death, but despite the fact that many turned to him for guidance, he never took up the mantle of governance of the Order.

After Germer's death no single person emerged as a central guiding figure.

Several individuals/organisations have claimed to continue the Order, with some lineages being reasonably clear, one such being that of Soror Estai (Jane Wolfe), while others are certainly very much open to debate.  We at are not in a position to verify or deny any claim by any organisation.

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Structure & Grades Within the Order

One Star in Sight, an essay to be found in Magick in Theory and Practice, describes the structure of the AA and the tasks allocated to its grades.

The attributes of these grades are shown by their correspondences in Liber 777.  Each grade has a task or tasks to achieve before moving on to the next, often with a minimum timescale.  For example, a Probationer (0° = 0°) must 'begin such practices as he may prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year', whereas a Neophyte (1° = 10°) 'has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Planes'.  See Liber XIII, an early document which describes the practical work in magick and meditation for the grades of Probationer to Adeptus Minor.  Liber Collegii Sancti sub Figura CLXXXV lists the Tasks and Grades proper to Liber XIII and their Oaths.

A total of eleven grades (or degrees) exist within the three divisions of the organisation: The Order of the G.D. (Golden Dawn); The Order of the R.C. (Rosy Cross); The Order of the S.S. (Silver Star) as follows:

Without all Orders

Student His business is to acquire a general intellectual knowledge of all systems of attainment, as declared in the prescribed books.  At the end of a fixed period, the student sits an open-book examination to test his reading, after which he passes through a small ritual involving the reading of the History Lection (Liber X), before passing to the grade of Probationer.

The Order of the G.D.

0° = 0°
This grade exists primarily for the candidate to prove himself capable of executing the Great Work, and to prepare him for his initiation into the Order. proper.  His principal business is to begin such practices as he may prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.  In this, he is charged with the tasks of attaining a "scientific knowledge of the nature and powers of his own being".  Crowley mentions elsewhere that the Probationer must demonstrate a reasonable level of proficiency in the core practices of the Order (as laid out in Liber E and Liber O).  This is primarily to ensure that when advancement comes, the newly created Neophyte will have the necessary experience to guide his own Probationers in their work.  Initiation into the following grade of Neophyte is conferred after at least one year, through an unpublished ritual titled Liber Throa.
1° = 10°
The title of the grade is derived from the Greek ‘neophutos’, meaning ‘newly planted’.  The Neophyte grade is the first grade in which true initiation takes place, and the candidate set in fertile spiritual soil in which to grow.  The Neophyte is charged with the task of attaining "control of the nature and powers of [his] own being."  This is prosecuted through the acquisition and use of the technique of Rising on the Planes, i.e., by acquiring perfect control of the Astral Plane.  Initiation into the grade of Zelator is conferred after a minimum of eight months, through an unpublished ritual, titled The Ritual of Passing Through the Tuat.
2° = 9°
His main work is to achieve complete success in Asana and Pranayama.  He also begins to study the formula of the Rosy Cross.  The word ‘Zelator’ probably stems from the Greek ‘zealos’ meaning zeal.  This is in reference to the energy-building asanas and pranayamas that characterise the main work of the grade.  The Oath of the grade states the Zelator is to "obtain control of the foundations of his own being", a reference to the Sephirah Yesod, to which the grade is attributed.  Advancement to Practicus is administrative only, requiring no initiatory ritual as such, and may be conferred at any time.
3° = 8°
This grade Is expected to complete his intellectual training, and in particular to study the Qabalah.  The grade title suggests the ‘practica’ use of the skills acquired through the previous grades.  The Practicus is prosecuted to "obtain control of the vacillations of his own being", which is to say that he must learn to control his own mind, and become one-pointed in thought, and so in word and action.  Advancement to Philosophus, like the advancement to Practicus, is also a purely administrative process, and may be conferred at any time.
4° = 7°
The Philosophus Is expected to complete his moral training.  He is tested in Devotion to the Order, in particular, to the application of adorations to various deities, such as are outlined in Liber Astarte.  The oath of the grade characterises this; the Philosophus resolves to "obtain control of the attractions and repulsions of my own being."  This effort is primarily directed toward transcending his likes and dislikes, deliberately defying one's morality, and so on.  The aim is to break out of one's predefined idea of self, and reach a perfectly equanimous perspective.  Advancement to Dominus Liminis is made at the perfection of this process, and again may take place at any time, with no prescribed ritual.
Dominus Liminis
the link
The Dominus Liminis is not a Grade in the proper sense, being the link or ‘a bridge' that connects the outer Order of the G.D. with the Order of the R.C.  The work of the Dominus Liminis extends and refines the work of the previous grades, synthesising it into a coherent whole.  The self-control of the Neophyte, the energy of the Zelator, the one-pointedness of the Practicus and the indifference of the Philosophus are fused together and turned to the work of strengthening and refining the faculty of aspiration.  Indeed, the oath of this grade is precisely this, to obtain control of the aspirations of one's own being.  The title Dominus Liminis means ‘Lord of the Threshold’, a substitution for Mathers' old Golden Dawn grade 'Lord of the Portal', the Portal or Threshold in question being a reference to the fact that the initiate is now passing from the Lesser Mysteries of the Outer Order of the G.D. to the Greater Mysteries of the Inner Order of the R.C.

The Order of the R.C.

Adeptus Minor
5° = 6°
The Grade of Adeptus Minor is the main theme of the instructions of the Order.  It is characterised by the Attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.  His work is to manifest the Beauty of the Order to the world, in the way that his superiors enjoin, and his genius dictates.
Adeptus Major
6° = 5°
His work is to use Magical Powers to support the authority of the Exempt Adept his superior. He achieves self-reliance, the proper use of Force, and the authority to govern the lower grades.
Adeptus Exemptus
7° = 4°
The Adept must prepare and publish a thesis setting forth His knowledge of the Universe, and his proposals for its welfare and progress.  He will thus be known as the leader of a school of thought.  He will have attained all but the supreme summits of meditation, and should be already prepared to perceive that the only possible course for him is to devote himself utterly to helping his fellow creatures.
Babe of the Abyss
the link
Like the Dominus Liminis, the Babe of the Abyss is not a Grade in the proper sense, being rather a passage between the two Orders.  It is an annihilation of all the bonds that compose the self or constitute the Cosmos, a resolution of all complexities into their elements, and these thereby cease to manifest, since things are only knowable in respect of their relation to, and reaction on, other things.

The Order of the S.S.

Magister Templi
8° = 3°
His principal business is to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe.  The essential Attainment is the perfect annihilation of that personality which limits and oppresses his true self.  The Magister Templi is pre-eminently the Master of Mysticism, that is, his Understanding is entirely free from internal contradiction or external obscurity; his Word is to comprehend the existing Universe in accordance with his own Mind.
9° = 2°
Attains to Wisdom, declares his law, and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense.  His will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; His work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his Will.
10° = 1°
Beyond the comprehension of the lower degrees.  An Ipsissimus is free from limitations and necessity and lives in perfect balance with Nature.  Essentially, the highest mode of attainment.

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Useful Rituals

Some excellent and useful examples of rituals of Magick approved by the AA can be found in The Equinox, in the following places:

Volume I

Issue No Description
Number I The Supplement contains the considerations for preparing a ritual of self-initiation.  This supplement is also a perfect model of what a magical record should be, in respect of the form.
Number II Several rituals of Initiation can be found on pages 244 – 288.  Pages 302 – 317 provide an account of certain astral visions.  Pages 326 – 332 provide a formula for Rising on the Planes.
Number III Pages 151 – 169 provide details of certain magical formulae.  Pages 170 – 190 show a classical ritual for the invocation of Mercury.  Pages 190 – 197 provide a ritual for the consecration of a talisman.  Pages 198 – 205 show an example of a ritual to invoke the Higher Genius.  Pages 208 – 233 show a ritual of Initiation, with an explanation.  Pages 269 – 272 provide a ritual for obtaining the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel using the formula I.A.O.  Pages 272 – 278 give a ritual for making oneself invisible.
Number IV Pages 43 – 196 give a treatise, with model records, of Mental Training appropriate to a Magician.
Number V The Supplement is the most perfect account of visions extant.  They explore the farthest recesses of the magical universe.
Number VI The Supplement gives seven rituals of the dramatic order as described in Chapter 19 of Magick.  Pages 29 – 32 show a highly important magical ritual for daily use and work.
Number VII Pages 21 – 27 give another classic example of a ritual to invoke Mercury for daily use and work.  Pages 117 – 157 give an example of a dramatic ritual in modern style.  Pages 229 – 243 provide an elaborate magical map of the universe on particular principles.  Pages 372 – 375 provide an example of a seasonal ritual.  Pages 376 – 383 show a ritual to invoke Horus.
Number VIII Pages 99 – 128 show how to conjure elemental spirits.
Number IX Pages 117 – 136 show a ritual for invoking the spirit of Mars.
Number X Pages 57 – 79 give a modern example of a magical ritual in dramatic form, commemorating the return of Spring.  Pages 81 – 90 show a fragment of a ritual of a very advanced character.

Volume II

Volume II was never written, nor was it intended to be since it is referred to by Crowley as ’a volume of Silence’.  Silence is the formula of Harpocrates, and Silence alternates with that of Speech, the Outpouring, the formula of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the Twin aspects of Horus.

Volume III

Issue No Description
Number I This volume contains a tremendous number of articles of primary importance to every student of Magick.

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Some Prominent Members of the AA & their Magical Mottos

Magical mottos are the magical nicknames, noms de plume, or pseudonyms (normally in Latin) taken by various individuals in magical organisations, the motto generally being adopted upon initiation into the neophyte grade of the organisation.  These members were known by, and often referred to in many publications by their mottos.  Users of magical mottos typically referred to each other in their capacity as initiates as Frater (men) or Soror (women), Latin for brother and sister respectively, followed by the initials of their magical mottos.

Member's Name Motto Meaning
Aleister Crowley V.V.V.V.V.  (Vi Veri Universum Vivus Vici) In my life I have conquered the universe with the power of truth.
Captain (later Major General) John Frederick Charles Fuller Per Ardua ad Astra By struggle to the stars
Charles Stansfeld Jones Unus In Omnibus / Parzival One in all
George Cecil Jones Volo Noscere I wish to know
Leila Waddell Agatha
Victor Neuburg Omnia Vincam I will conquer all
Austin Osman Spare Yihoveaum
Raoul Loveday Aud Magical light
Jane Wolfe Estai It will be
Frank Bennett Progradior
Gerald Joseph Yorke Volo Intelligere I wish for knowledge
Dorothy Olsen Astrid

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