Neophyte

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A neophyte is a beginner.

  1. A beginner.
  2. A novice (recent convert), a new convert or proselyte.
  3. A name given by the early Christians, and still given by the Roman Catholics, to those who have recently embraced the Christian faith, and been admitted to baptism, especially those converts from heathenism or Judaism.
  4. A plant species recently introduced to an area (in contrast to archaeophyte, a long-established introduced species).


Etymology

Neophyte: from Latin neophytus from Ancient Greek νεόφυτος (neophutos) from νέος (neos, “new”) + φυτόν (phuton, “plant, child”).


The Grade of Neophyte in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawm

(First Order)

The Neophyte Grade of "0=0" indicates no position on the Tree. In the other pairs, the first numeral is the number of steps up from the bottom (Malkuth), and the second numeral is the number of steps down from the top (Kether).


The Grade of Neophyte Neophyte in Ordo Argentium Astrum

(The Order of the G∴D∴)

Neophyte Grade (1=10)

The Great Work, for the Neophyte, is defined as, “to obtain control of the nature and powers of my own being.”

“Neophyte” generally means any beginner, novice, tyro, or new convert. The English “Neophyte” derives from the Greek neophytus, “new plant.” The official A.'.A.'. commentary on the grade name in Liber 185 says: “Let him be mindful that the word Neophyte is no idle term, but that in many a subtle way the new nature will stir within him, when he knoweth it not.”


Interpretation: To borrow a phrase from alchemy, the Neophyte Grade marks a “volatilizing of the fixed,” an intentional stirring into instability of a relatively inert “first matter,” as a necessary stage of its transformation.


Advancement:

Let any Probationer who has accomplished his task to the satisfaction of the A.'.A.'. be instructed in the proper course of procedure: which is:- Let him read through this note of his office, and sign it, paying the sum of One Guinea for Liber VII which will be given him on his initiation, and One Guinea for this Portfolio of Class D publications, B-G. Let him obtain the robe of a Neophyte, and entrust the same to the care of his Neophyte.

He shall choose a new motto with deep forethought and intense solemnity, as expressing the clearer consciousness of his Aspiration which the year’s Probation has given him. Let him make an appointment with his Neophyte at the pleasure of the latter for the ceremony of Initiation. (Liber 185)

The “Portfolio of Class D publications” refers to Liber 185, the Task and Oath papers for each grade from Neophyte through Adeptus Minor. The robe of a Neophyte is a black Tau robe, hooded, and totally unadorned with no other symbols or insignia. Regarding "the ceremony of his initiation,"

When the sun shall next enter the sign under which he hath been received, his initiation may be granted unto him. He shall keep himself free from all other engagements for one whole week from that date. (Liber 185)

Let him make an appointment with his Neophyte at the pleasure of the latter for the ceremony of Initiation. (Liber 185)

At the end of the Probation he passes Ritual DCLXXI which constitutes him a Neophyte. (Liber XIII) Ritual DCLXXI is the temple ceremony Liber T’raa (ThROA). The ritual, including its preparation, requires seven days.


Neophyte Work

(Overview) The duties of a Neophyte are in Malkuth, in which is Kether. Therefore he still tries many paths, yet always with the idea of the One Path. (Aleister Crowley) He shall apply himself to understand the nature of his Initiation. (Liber 185)


Interpretation: At its simplest, this means that the Neophyte is to do what every aspirant to self-knowledge and spiritual progress is encouraged to do; namely to witness, and seek to understand, the actual process, the patterns, the road signs of her particular journey. However, the Neophyte, as well, is to study and practice the actual Neophyte Initiation ceremony and, especially, the Neophyte Formula which underlays it.


The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox, in the manner known to Neophytes of the A.'.A.'.. (The Master Therion) One specialized application of the Neophyte Formula which is specifically referred to the Neophyte is the Feast of the Equinox.

The Ceremony of the Feast of the Equinox serves two purposes. First, it is a ritual by which each initiate magically can unite her consciousness with that of the Sun, and attune himself or herself thereby to a new magical current inaugurated twice annually, at the commencement of spring and autumn. Second, by this same ceremony is derived a Word which quintessentializes the nature of the magick current prevailing for the six months following. Those who are at least Neophytes are entitled to receive the Word from the Chancellor, Praemonstrator or Orator. (It is also communicated at his discretion to any person working under his direct supervision by any member of the Third Order.)


Liber O:

...he shall study and practice Liber O in all its branches. (Liber 185) Examination in Liber O, caps. I-IV, Theoretical and Practical. (Liber XIII) Both theoretical knowledge and practical skill are to be examined. Examination on these points is designed by the supervising Zelator.


Building the Pantacle:

Furthermore, he shall construct the magic Pantacle, according to the instruction in Liber A. (Liber 185) Further, he builds up the magic Pantacle. (Liber XIII) The Pantacle is the magical implement attributed to the element of Earth. As such, it is the characteristic implement of the Neophyte.

One additional level of this “building up of the Pantacle” is found in Liber 185:

He shall in every way fortify his body according to the advice of his Zelator, for that the ordeal of advancement is no light one.


The Four Powers of the Sphinx: (Malkuth & The Path of Tav) He shall pass the four tests called the Powers of the Sphinx. (Liber 185) Examination in The Four Powers of the Sphinx. Practical. Four tests are set. (Liber XIII) To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent: these are the Four Powers of the Sphinx.

As quoted above, the Neophyte is given four distinct practical tests in these Four Powers of the Sphinx. These tests are designed by the Neophyte’s Zelator. Unpublished instructions clarify the basic form of these examinations.


Mastery of the Astral Plane: (The Path of Tav) Neophyte. - Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane. (One Star in Sight) He will further be examined in his power of Journeying in the Spirit Vision. (Liber 185) TAV - The Formulation of the Body of Light. Liber O. (Liber Viarum Viae) The essential instructions for this method are given in Liber O, Caps. V-VI. Liber O makes clear that the training from its earlier chapters “should be completely mastered before the dangerous Methods of Chapter V and VI are attempted.”


Liber HHH & Divination: (The Paths of Shin & Qoph) ...he shall begin to study Liber H and some one commonly accepted method of divination. (Liber 185) “Liber H” is Liber CCCXLI, more fully identified as Liber HHH. These assignments are attributed to the Paths of Shin and Qoph, respectively. As such, they later form part of the Work of the Zelator and Practicus.


Other Work:

He shall commit to memory a chapter of Liber VII. (Liber 185) Liber VII is Liber Liberi vel Lapidis Lazuli, Adumbratio Kabbalae Aegyptiorum, “The Book of Wine (or, of the god Liber), or The Book of Lapis Lazuli, Outline of Egyptian Qabalah.” Beside all this, shall perform any tasks that his Zelator in the name of the A.'.A.'. and by its authority may see fit to lay upon him. (Liber 185)


The Neophyte Syllabus

  • CLASS A

- VII Liber Liberi vel Lapidis Lazuli, Adumbratio Kabbalae (The Book of Wine, or The Book of Lapis Lazuli, Outline of Egyptian Qabalah)

An account of the voluntary emancipation of a certain Exempt Adept from his Adeptship. These are the birth words of a Master of the Temple. The nature of this book is sufficiently explained by its title. It gives in magical language an account of the initiation of a Master of the Temple. Its seven chapters are referred to the seven planets in the following order: Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Sol, Mercury, Luna, Venus. This book is the only parallel, for beauty of ecstasy, to Liber LXV.

- CCXX Liber L vel Legis (Book L., or The Book of the Law)

This book is the foundation of the New Aeon, and thus of the whole of our Work.


  • CLASS B

- VI Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae (Book O, or The Book of the Hand & the Arrow) Instructions given for elementary study of the Qabalah, Assumption of God-forms, Vibration of Divine Names, the Rituals of Pentagram and Hexagram and their uses in protection and invocation, a method of attaining astral visions so-called, and an instruction in the practice called Rising on the Planes.

- IX Liber E vel Exercitiorum (Book E, or The Book of Exercises) This book instructs the aspirant in the necessity of keeping a record. Suggests methods of testing physical clairvoyance. Gives instruction in asana, pranayama and dharana, and advises the application of tests to the physical body, in order that the student may thoroughly understand her own limitations.

- LXXVIII A Description of the Cards of the Tarot A complete treatise on the Tarot, giving a description of the correct designs of the cards with their attributions and symbolic meanings on all the planes. Also includes a method of divination by their use.

- XCVI Liber Gaias, A Handbook of Geomancy (The Book of the Earth) Gives a simple and fairly satisfactory system of divination by Geomancy.

  • CDLXXIV Liber Os Abysmi vel Da'ath (The Book of the Mouth of the Abyss, or The Book of Da'ath)

An instruction in a purely intellectual method of entering the Abyss.


  • CLASS C

- DCCCXI Energized Enthusiasm

A Note on Theurgy. An adumbration of the practical instructions contained in Liber IAO and Liber HHH, with which it completes a triad.


  • CLASS D

- XIII Graduum Montis Abiegni (The Book of the Slopes of Mt. Abiegnis)

An account of the task of the Aspirant from Probationer to Adept.

- XXVIII Liber Septem Regum Sanctorum (The Book of the Seven Holy Kings)

(Unpublished.) A ritual of Initiation bestowed on certain select Probationers.

- CLXXXV Liber Collegii Sancti (The Book of the Holy Society)

Being the tasks of the grades and their Oaths proper to Liber XIII. This is the set of official papers of the various grades from Probationer through Adeptus Minor.

- CCCXLI Liber H.H.H.

Gives three methods of attainment through a willed series of thoughts.

- CDXII Liber A vel Armorum (The Book of Arms or Tools)

An instruction for the preparation of the Elemental Instruments.

- DCLXXI Liber ThROA (The Book of the Gate)

(Unpublished.) The ritual of the initiation of the 1=10 Grade of Neophyte. It includes sub-rituals numbered from 672 to 676.

- DCLXXI Liber Pyramidos (The Book of the Pyramid)

A self-initiation adaptation from Liber ThROA, written by Fra. O.M. for use in his own advancement to the 6=5 Grade of Adeptus Major.


  • UNCLASSIFIED

- The Equinox Ritual. Unnumbered. Based on Liber 671.


Advancement to Zelator:

According to Liber 185, “any Neophyte who has accomplished his task to the satisfaction of the A.'.A.'.” is to be prepared for advancement to Zelator.

The Neophyte Grade lasts at least eight months. The earliest date of advancement is, “When the sun shall next enter the sign 240 degrees to that under which he hath been received” (Liber 185). To prepare for this, the Neophyte is instructed to deliver a copy of the Magical Record of the Neophyte period to the supervising Zelator, and, at that time, to recite the chosen chapter of Liber VII. This is to occur one month before the completion of the Neophyte period.

The Neophyte is to remain free from all other engagements for four days, which is the length of the Zelator advancement process.


References