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The Cipher Manuscript is the principle document that details rituals and lectures for the Golden Dawn. William Wynn Westcott claimed to have received the document from A.F.A. Woodford, an elderly Mason. The manuscript was translated from a cipher in Polygraphiae by Abbot Johann Trithemius. Wescott took the outline and created a complete system ranging from Neophyte to Philosophus.

There was debate on the actual origins of the Cipher. Some believed it was written by Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, or Frederick Hockley. It is believed however that it was written by Kenneth Mackenzie who was known to have written other systems and rituals for organizations similar to the Golden Dawn.