The Rosicrucian Grades and Composite Paths

Occult orders in the Rosicrucian tradition frequently associate spiritual progress with a series of ten grades or initiations correlated to the qabalistic Tree of Life. Each of these grades can be considered to consist of assigned work, an expansion of consciousness acquired, and a spiritual power confirmed. Admittedly, this scheme is theoretical, and the level of spiritual development attained by any individual often differs widely from a ceremonial level of initiation conferred in a magical lodge.

As with other potentially disparate concepts organized by the sephiroth of the Tree of Life, there are correspondences between the ceremonial grade associated with any given sphere and the quality of consciousness associated with that sphere, but as with other correspondences, identity must not be automatically inferred.

Inasmuch as the Tree of Life consists of 22 paths connecting the ten spheres, progress can be considered to occur along the paths leading to the sephiroth. Each grade will therefore consist ofthose paths leading to each successive sphere. The sequence of successively experiencing each path of the Tree has been called the Path of the Serpent. The image is one of a serpent winding its way through the paths of the Tree like the rungs of a ladder. The serpent is a symbol of wisdom, and, as the Tempter, is an apt symbol for the experience of the manifold aspects of the Tree.

As an aid to study, it may be more instructive to consider the paths in tabular form for this allows examination of some of their associated qualities.

Grade

Title

Sephirah

Path

Spheres Connected

Hebrew
Letter

1=10

Zelator

Malkuth

---

---

---

2=9

Theoricus

Yesod

Path 32

Malkuth to Yesod

Tav


3=8


Practicus


Hod

Path 31

Malkuth to Hod

Shin

Path 30

Yesod to Hod

Resh

 

4=7

 

Philosophus

 

Netzach

Path 29

Malkuth to Netzach

Qoph

Path 28

Yesod to Netzach

Tzaddi

Path 27

Hod to Netzach

Peh

 

5=6



 
Adeptus
Minor

 

Tiphareth

Path 26*

Hod to Tiphareth

Ayin

Path 25

Yesod to Tiphareth

Samech

Path 24

Netzach to Tiphareth

Nun


6=5

 
Adeptus
Major

Geburah

Path 23

Hod to Geburah

Mem

Path 22

Tiphareth to Geburah

Lamed

 

7=4

 

Adeptus Exemptus

 

Chesed

Path 21

Netzach to Chesed

Kaph

Path 20

Tiphareth to Chesed

Yod

Path 19

Geburah to Chesed

Teth


8=3

 
Magister
Templi

Binah

Path 18*

Geburah to Binah

Cheth

Path 17

Tiphareth to Binah

Zain

 

9=2

Magus

Chokmah

Path 16*

Chesed to Chokmah

Vau

Path 15

Tiphareth to Chokmah

Heh

Path 14

Binah to Chokmah

Daleth

 

10=1

Ipsissimus

Kether

Path 13

Tiphareth to Kether

Gimel

Path 12

Binah to Kether

Beth

Path 11

Chokmah to Kether

Aleph

 

Note that the paths are numbered in reverse order starting with Malkuth and ending at Kether. In general, the numbering of the paths follows the rule that, for each grade, the path with the higher number begins in the lower sphere. Exceptions are marked with an asterisk.

Prepared by Emmanuel Rose
Ó Emmanuel Rose 2000