This article is about adepts in mystery religions and the occult. For other uses, see Adept (disambiguation).

An adept is an individual identified as having attained a specific level of knowledge, skill, or aptitude in doctrines relevant to a particular author or organization.


The word "adept" is derived from Latin adeptus 'one who has attained' (the secret of transmuting metals).[1]


H. P. Blavatsky

Madame Blavatsky makes liberal use of the term adept in her works[2] to refer to their minor function as caretaker of ancient occult knowledge. She also mentions their great compassionate help for humanity and such lesser powers of the adept as being able to take active control of elemental spirits as well as the physical and astral (conditions of non-adepts.[3]

Alice Bailey

In Alice Bailey's body of writing she outlines a hierarchy of spiritual evolution and an initiatory path along which an individual may choose to advance. In her works an Adept is defined as a being who has taken five of the seven initiations.[4]


Various occult organizations have steps in which an initiate may ascend in their own magical system. Some call these steps degrees or grades.

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

In the initiatory system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an adept is one who has taken the oath of the 5=6 grade and has been granted the title Adeptus Minor.[5] Symbolically this degree represents a spiritual aspirant who, having mastered the union of the four elements under an upright and balanced spirit,[6] is allowed passage from the Portal of the Vault of the Adepti into the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz in the center of the Rosicrucian Mountain of Initiation, Abiegnus, at the center of the universe.[7] The grade of Adeptus Minor and subsequent grades, Adeptus Major, and Adeptus Exemptus form the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, also called the Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (The Ruby Rose and Golden Cross). These grades correspond to the kabbalistic sephirah of Tiphereth, Geburah, and Chesed respectively.[8]

The oath of the Adeptus Minor includes a provision to "unite myself with my higher and Divine Genius",[9] a process which is more commonly referred to (by way of Aleister Crowley) as Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. To undertake this process the Adeptus Minor must reconfirm the work of earlier grades (Zelator through Philosophus) with their newfound knowledge before passing to the Adeptus Major degree, as a full-fledged adept.[8]


Aleister Crowley, who formed the A∴A∴, restructured the Golden Dawn system. This system still holds to three forms of adept.[8]

Temple of Set

The Temple of Set calls their steps degrees, and places adept second. Its system is as follows:

Illuminates of Thanateros

Also distinguished as degrees, the Illuminates of Thanateros, is a newer style of magic called chaos magic, which places adept closer to the top of their system.

Ceremonial magic and theurgic practices

Those who practice esoteric arts such as theurgy, and Kabbalah are familiar with the word "adept". In the traditions of esoteric Christianity and ritual magic, an adept is one who is skilled or profound, but not a master in these arts.[10][11]

See also


  1. "Adept - Define Adept at". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. Leadbeater. The Inner Life. p. 12.
  3. Blavatsky. Isis Unveiled. Vol II, pp. 588-590.
  4. Bailey. Initiation Human and Solar. p. 215.
  5. Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p52.
  6. Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p25. The symbol representing spirit over the four elements in the Golden Dawn tradition is the upright pentagram.
  7. Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p56.
  8. 1 2 3 Eshelman. The Mystical & Magical System of the A∴A∴. p. 21.
  9. Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p42.
  10. Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires by Aaron Leitch
  11. The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage


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