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The man who writes books on a Thelema that no beast shall divine. Founding member of Ordo Astri, Thelemic Magical Collegium. Member of Ordo Typhonis since 2000 e.v. More articles and essays are posted at https://ordoastri.org/ and https://tantrika.co.uk/

Friday, 31 October 2014

Enochian Magick and Hermetic Initiation

It is sometimes said, and with great conviction, that the system of Thirty Aethyrs cannot be equated to the magical grades. The view is a surprising one as this has been done and has proved to work very effectively.

Enochian Magick: Sigillum Dei Aemeth (Ordo Astri)
The spiritual and magical work of the grades beyond Tiphereth is mapped and explored through the Enochian system of Thirty Aethyrs. Nonetheless, we may still sometimes hear, ‘Only Jesus Christ has really attained the grade of Tiphereth’, or, ‘No human being can cross the Abyss’. In a certain sense, such statements are true. For all practical purposes, though, we can best regard such ‘handed-on’ advice as warning us not to claim grades of Initiation we are not entitled to. In any case, grades of Initiation are relative to each person and have no meaning whatsoever outside of an internal magical Order framework.

The post-Tiphereth grades in the hermetic schema cannot be experienced in any full sense through ordinary knowledge, astral exploration or pathworking. The Enochian system nonetheless supplies a satisfactory practical basis for the magical, spiritual and life experiences that correspond to grand-sounding degree titles such as Adeptus Major and Adeptus Exemptus.

The Thirty Aethyrs must be worked systematically. It is foolhardy to try and ‘jump’ to the higher Aethyrs before the lower ones have been thoroughly explored. Firstly, we shall examine how the magical planes work in relation to the Thirty Aethyrs. Then we will see how the whole course of initiation, everything that is possible for the magician to know and understand, can be linked to the Enochian system.

The Terrestrial Plane and the Watchtowers

The material plane is so-called objective reality, as perceived by the ordinary senses of man. The material plane is governed by matter and time. For non-initiates, this world is absolutely true and there is nothing beyond it. In the Enochian system, the terrestrial universe is bounded and gated by Four Watchtowers. Beyond these, in ever widening circles, are Thirty Aethyrs. These may conveniently be thought of as levels of consciousness.

The Etheric Plane: 30th Aethyr (TEX)

The lowest or most material of the Aethyrs is the realm immediately behind that of physical matter. It extrudes into matter in a certain sense, while the upper reaches of the Etheric Plane touch the lower regions of the Astral Plane. The Etheric Plane is the traditional abode of ghosts, ghouls, phantoms and vampires, and is the main reservoir for what is often called the supernatural. It is the main field of operation for psychics, professional mediums and the like, who frequently imagine they are working with ‘higher’ spiritual intelligences. In theory, a Neophyte should be able to enter and experience TEX, the 30th Aethyr, but not those beyond it.

The Astral Plane: 29th (RII) to the 24th (NIA) Aethyr

The lower regions of the Astral Plane are identical to the realms of heaven and hell that are the mainstay of the world’s religions. These Aethyrs are relatively dark. They are permeated with a heavy sense of judgement and sin, yet they include zones of intense desire and longing. Once NIA, the 24th Aethyr is reached, the magician has grown accustomed to travelling in a body of light. Contact has been gained with spiritual forces or intelligences that will assist further progress. The Threshold between the Astral Plane and Hermetic Plane is between NIA and TOR, the 23rd Aethyr. This is more or less identical to the Veil of Paroketh and the magical grade of Dominus Liminis.

The Hermetic Plane: 23rd (TOR) to the 14th (UTA) Aethyr

The Hermetic Plane is a realm of pure consciousness unknown to the astral body of light. In the 22nd Aethyr of LIN, the Holy Guardian Angel prepares the Adeptus Minor for the realisation of the formlessness behind all forms. By the time the 20th Aethyr of KHR has been explored, the Adeptus Major has become accustomed to the Hermetic Plane and has obtained a certain mastery of thought processes. POP, the 19th Aethyr, brings the first intimation of the threshold of the Abyss. In ZEN, the 18th Aethyr, the Adeptus Major is prepared for the initiation to the next grade of Adeptus Exemptus. The highest level of the Hermetic Plane is encountered in the 14th Aethyr of UTA, which is the last Aethyr to be explored before the Oath of the Abyss is taken.

The Spiritual Plane: 13th (ZIM) to the 1st Aethyr (LIL)

The higher grades involve the whole of life’s experience. The Magister Templi is gradually prepared for the crossing of the Abyss. It is imprudent to attempt to enter the higher Aethyrs without the corresponding degree or level of initiation and experience.


This article is adapted from, ‘The Thirty Aethyrs and the Grades of Initiation’, Ritual Magick Volume VIII.
© Oliver St. John 2014, 2019

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