The Golden Dawn grade of Adeptus Exemptus is the eighth grade of the GD system, immediately succeeding the grade of Adeptus Major and preceding that of Magister Templi (or in some branches of the Golden Dawn tradition, a grade corresponding to Daath). It is also known by the numeration 7=4 and is supposedly associated with the Qabalistic Sephirah of Chesed.

Some authorities claim that the grades of Daath or Magister Templi and above cannot be held by living Adepts, thus effectively making the grade of Adeptus Exemptus the highest in the Golden Dawn system.[1]

General Nature of the Adeptus Exemptus GradeEdit

Like other grades in the Golden Dawn, that of Adeptus Exemptus is named after the seventh degree of the SRIA which in turn is derived from a similarly named degree of the Golden and Rosy Cross. The published details of the Golden and Rosy Cross version of this degree amount to little more than notes, from which it would be impossible to construct a ritual with any amount of certainty.

The SRIA version of the Ritual is an unsophisticated affair in which the Candidate is told to "face death", before being told to have hope in the life of the soul after death.

William Wynn Westcott described the GD 7=4 grade as being related to the life of Christian Rosenkreutz - and also that it was

"...referred to the higher and more exalted rank and attainments of him who founded the Rosicrucian Order, as a new formulation of that Occult philosophy or Wisdom Religion which, we cannot doubt, has never been entirely absent since the manifestation of human intellect with a capacity for the apprehension of things Divine."[2]

In the GD, the original chiefs of the Order assumed the grade of 7=4 upon their own authority, without having undergone any Ritual at that time. As with the grade of Adeptus Major, almost no-one was awarded the grade before the original order broke up, although Mathers conferred it on a select few at his temple in Paris.

Of GD-related orders, there are two Adeptus Exemptus rituals which are publically available: one created by Robert Felkin for use by the Stella Matutina and one created by Arthur Edward Waite for his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. Mathers is presumed to have created an Adeptus Exemptus ritual which he then used in the Alpha Et Omega, but few details have been published.

Adeptus Exemptus (Stella Matutina)Edit

This has been published by Patrick Zalewski: he gives the full title of the ritual as "The Mystical Grade of 7=4, being the grade of the Red Rose which Blossomed."[3]. However, there is a version of the same ritual amongst the papers of W B Yeats in the National Library of Ireland, where it is entitled "... being the grade of the Rod which blossomed." This would imply that the version of the ritual undergone by Yeats refers to the legend of Aaron's Rod, which blossomed as a sign that God was confirming Aaron's priestly authority.

The ritual bears a certain superficial resemblance to the Rose-Croix degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, although this is mainly in the structure of the Ritual. There are three officers: the Chief Adept (called the King of Salem), a female officer called Shekinah, and a Magus, who appears in the close of the ritual behind a veil in the Vault of the Adepti, having entered through a secret door in the Jupiter wall. In addition, the Candidate's own role in the ceremony is quite involved, making him or her as it were a fourth officer.

There is a complex array of symbolism in the ritual, related to general themes of arising from ones Earthbound existence, dedicating ones life to the service of the Highest, and transmutation into a higher spiritual state.

Adeptus Exemptus (Fellowship of the Rosy Cross)Edit

Waite's ceremony is specifically themed the "Mystery of Resurrection." The ceremony represents a symbolic progression from Geburah, via the path of Teth, into Chesed where, within the "Sanctuary" the Candidate is ordained by a Magus - the theme of Resurrection is thus revealed using some very obvious Christian symbolism relating to the Easter story. The Candidate then leaves the Sanctuary and traverses the paths of Yod and Kaph, symbolically bringing the influence of Chesed down into Tiphereth and Netzach.


  1. Cicero, C, Cicero, S T, 2003, The Essential Golden Dawn, Llewellyn, St Paul's Minnesota.
  2. G H Frater N.O.M, King, Francis (ed), (n.d.), Flying Roll No. XVI - The History of the Rosicrucian Order, published in "Ritual Magiic of the Golden Dawn" (1997), Destiny Books, Toronto.
  3. Zalewski, P, 1988, The Secret Inner Order Rituals of the Golden Dawn, Falcon Press, Phoenix AZ
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