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The Salient Points of the

The Great Work, for the Zelator, is defined as, “to obtain control of the foundations of my own being.” By “foundations” is meant the Automatic Consciousness.

“Zelator” is a Latin word meaning “a zealous person.” In the old Golden Dawn order, it was the name of the 1=10 Grade, where it was explained as meaning, “the ‘Zealous Student’ whose first duty was to blow the Athanor or fire which heated the Crucible of the alchemist.” Within the A.'.A.'., the official commentary on the grade name is given in Liber 185: “Let him be mindful that the word Zelator is no idle term, but that a certain Zeal will be inflamed within him, why he knoweth not.”

In the old Golden Dawn, “Zelator” was also the name of the first grade of its Second Order, Zelator Adeptus Minor. This is the primary reason the title was given to the A.'.A.'. 2=9. The A.'.A.'. Zelator ceremony is equivalent to the 5=6 initiation of the old Golden Dawn.


Liber 185 describes the procedure for the advancement of a Neophyte to the Grade of Zelator:

Let any Neophyte who has accomplished his task to the satisfaction of the A.'.A.'. be instructed in the proper course of procedure: which is this:-
Let him read through this note of his office, and sign it, paying the sum of Three Guineas for the volume containing Liber CCXX, Liber XXVII and Liber DCCCXIII, which will be given him on his initiation.
Let him cause the necessary addition to be made to his Neophyte’s robe, and entrust the same to the care of his Zelator.
Let him make an appointment with his Zelator at the pleasure of the latter for the ceremony of initiation.

The third of the “three volumes of the Book” is presented to the aspirant. It contains three Thelemic Holy Books: The Book of the Law, Liber Trigrammaton, and Liber Ararita.

The robe of a Zelator is that of a Neophyte with the addition of a silver “Eye in the Triangle” to the forehead portion of the hood.

“Finally he passes Ritual CXX., which constitutes him a Zelator.” (Liber 13)

Ritual CXX, the Zelator initiation ceremony, is alternately called Liber Cadaveris (“The Book of the Corpse”) and The Passing Through the Tuat. Four days are required for this initiation.


Zelator. - His main work is to achieve complete success in Asana and Pranayama. (One Star in Sight)

INTERPRETATION: Central to the mystery of Yesod and the 2=9 Grade is the idea that “change is stability and stability change.” It is the chief task of the initiate of Yesod to establish a foundation of stability. Where the nature of the Neophyte Grade was to “volatilize the fix,” that of the Zelator Grade is to “fix the volatile.” The techniques for attaining this are yoga practices of asana and pranayama.

Asana is posture. Pranayama is literally “control of prana,” effected by exercising control of breathing. Liber E is the primary instruction for this. The Zelator Syllabus also includes a more extensive instruction in pranayama, Liber RV vel Spiritis.

Examinations in both of these practices are objective. From Liber 185:

He shall pass Examinations in Liber E, Posture and Breathing. He shall have attained complete success in the former, i.e., the chosen posture shall be perfectly steady and easy; and attained the second stage in the latter, i.e., automatic rigidity.

Liber E (Cap. III, v. 9) embellishes the former:

When you have progressed up to the point that a saucer filled to the brim with water and poised upon the head does not spill one drop during a whole hour, and when you can no longer perceive the slightest tremor in any muscle; when, in short, you are perfectly steady and easy, you will be admitted for examination. . .


...he shall construct the magic Dagger, according to the instruction in Liber A. (Liber 185)
Further, he forges the magic Sword. (Liber 13)

An additional level on which the “forging of the magical blade” may be understood is found in Liber 185:

He shall in every way establish perfect control of his Automatic Consciousness according to the advice of his Practicus, for that the ordeal of advancement is no light one.

The Paths of Shin & Resh

He shall further show some acquaintance with and experience of the meditations given in Liber HHH. And in this his Record shall be his witness. (Liber XIII)

The first of these practices, MMM, called “The Illumination of the Sphere,” is a meditative reenactment of the inner operation of the Neophyte Ceremony, Ritual DCLXXI. It is assigned to the Path of Resh.

The second of these practices, AAA, called “The Passage of the King’s Chamber,” corresponds (as a meditative, rather than ceremonial, practice) to the process of the Zelator Ceremony, Ritual CXX. It is assigned to the Path of Shin.


He also begins to study the formula of the Rosy Cross. (One Star in Sight)

INTERPRETATION: This line is subject to being understood in varying, highly personal, and intimate ways. What follows in this section, except for direct quotation, should be understood primarily as suggestive. The Zelator is encouraged to discuss this matter with his or her Practicus.

[In Yesod] he learnt that his Body was the Temple of the Rosy Cross, that is, that it was given him as a place wherein to perform the Magical Work of uniting the oppositions in his Nature. (The Master Therion)

An important perspective can be gained by observing that, while the Zelator “begins to study” this formula, only the Adeptus Minor Within — one who has attained to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel — “is admitted to the practice of the formula of the Rosy Cross on entering the College of the Holy Ghost.” By definition, only the Adeptus Minor Within is admitted to the practice of this formula of the Rosy Cross that the Zelator commences to study.

Aleister Crowley, in various places, summarized it by saying that the Rosy Cross is formulated in “the annihilation of the self in the Beloved.”


Beside all this, he shall apply himself to work for the A.'.A.'. upon his own responsibility. (Liber 185)
He shall commit to memory a chapter of Liber CCXX... (Liber 185)

Liber CCXX is Liber Legis, The Book of the Law.

He may at any moment withdraw from his association with the A.'.A.'. simply notifying the Practicus who introduced him. Yet let him remember that being entered thus far upon the Path, he cannot escape it, and return to the world, but must ultimate either in the City of the Pyramids or the lonely towers of the Abyss. (Liber 185)


Click here for a complete annotated listed of the Zelator Syllabus.


There is no minimum time in the Zelator Grade: “The Zelator shall proceed to the grade of Practicus at any time that authority confers it,” (Liber 185). “One month after his admission to the grade, he shll go to his Practicus, pass the necessary tests, and repeat to him his chosen chapter of Liber CCX.”

“No ritual admits to the grade of Practicus, which is conferred by authority when the task of the Zelator is accomplished.” (Liber XII)

“When authority confers the grade, he shall rejoice therein; but beware, for that this is his first departure from the middle pillar of the Tree of Life.” (Liber 185)

Click to Advance to Practicus.

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