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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.
H. P. Blavatsky
Madame Blavatsky makes liberal use of the term adept in her works 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.
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.
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. Symbolically this degree represents a spiritual aspirant who, having mastered the union of the four elements under an upright and balanced spirit, 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. 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.
The oath of the Adeptus Minor includes a provision to "unite myself with my higher and Divine Genius", 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.
- Probationer—The Order of the Golden Dawn--
- Dominus Liminis—The order of the RC (Rose Cross)--
- Adeptus Minor
- Adeptus Major
- Adeptus Exemptus
- Babe of the Abyss—The Order of the S. S. (Silver Star)--
- Magister Templi
Temple of Set
- Setian ( First Degree )
- Adept ( Second Degree )
- Priest / Priestess ( Third Degree )
- Magister / Magistra Templi ( Fourth Degree )
- Magus / Maga ( Fifth Degree )
- Ipsissimus / Ipsissima ( Sixth Degree )
Illuminates of Thanateros
- 4° Neophyte
- 3° Initiate
- 2° Adept
- 1° Magus
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.
- Apprentice Adept, a series of fantasy/science fiction novels by Piers Anthony
- Mystery cult
- Western esotericism
- Leadbeater. The Inner Life. p. 12.
- Blavatsky. Isis Unveiled. Vol II, pp. 588-590.
- Bailey. Initiation Human and Solar. p. 215.
- Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p52.
- 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.
- Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p56.
- Eshelman. The Mystical & Magical System of the A∴A∴. p. 21.
- Regardie. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic Vol 7, p42.
- Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires by Aaron Leitch
- The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
- Bailey, Alice A.: Initiation Human and Solar. New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-85330-110-7
- Blavatsky, H. P.: Isis Unveiled. Theosophical University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-911500-03-0
- Eshelman, James A.: The Mystical & Magical System of the A∴A∴. Los Angeles: College of Thelema, 2000. ISBN 0-9704496-0-7
- Leadbeater, Charles W.: The Inner Life. The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978. ISBN 0-8356-0502-7
- Regardie, Israel: The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. Scottsdale, AZ, USA: Falcon Press, 1984. ISBN 0-941404-12-9