Glossary – G


[gayt-way] A gateway, typically, is a portal to another level of reality. These can be either found or created. One method of creating a gateway is to consciously choose to enter a magical or astral space while passing through a physical doorway. Doorways, windows, mirrors, twilight, dawn, the seasons of the equinoxes — these are liminal spaces/times that lend themselves to magical work.

Another type of gateway is on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, when the veils on the middle pillar are pierced or rending and one gains awareness of higher levels of thought, being, and reality. The “Keeper at the Gate,” Choronzon, guards and polices the Abyss (Da’ath).


[gee-boor-ah] Hebrew: “Severity” or “Strength.” The fifth sphere or sephirah on the Tree of Life, representing strength, power, and war, it emanates from Chesed. It is situation in the center of the Pillar of Severity (on the left side when one is viewing an image of the Tree), and imbalance here is like an imbalance in the element of fire, tending to make one short-tempered and overly forceful. It is balanced by Chesed, the sphere of mercy and love. Geburah’s Vices are Cruelty and Destruction, and its Virtues are Energy and Courage. Its spiritual experience is the Vision of Power, and it corresponds to the grade of Ateptus Major in the Golden Dawn grading system.


[gee-dool-ah] Another name for the sephirah Chesed.


[gohst] In general view, a ghost is the spirit of a person who has passed on, who for whatever reason lingers close to our sphere of reality. There are a variety of ways in which this can manifest, which causes a lot of confusion among laymen. On one end of the spectrum is the haunting, when a recording of a tragic or violent event replays (automatically, in most cases) at the location of the event and is perceived by living people. At the other end of the spectrum is the spirit guide or companion who has traversed the Abyss and returned to render aid to a living person(s). There exist other types of manifestation, such as the shade; the refraction of the egregore; and the spirit of a recently deceased person who has lingered here to wrap up unfinished business (and at times appear to be unaware of their passing).

Golden Dawn

[gohl-duhn dawn] The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was the original magical order focused on ceremonial magick and the evolution of the soul via magical and mystical means. It was founded in the late 19th century by William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, who were all Masons. Influenced by the Masonic hierarchy, it is an initiatory system of ten grades which are earned via mastering increasingly esoteric aspects of magical practice. It is still active today in various incarnations, but has mostly been eclipsed by the O.T.O and the A∴A∴. It was the original group that Aleister Crowley joined early in his life; he later left after disagreements with Mathers, at which time he broke his vows and published many of their secrets.

The grades of the Golden Dawn are thus:

First Order
* Introduction — Neophyte 0=0
* Zelator 1=10
* Theoricus 2=9
* Practicus 3=8
* Philosophus 4=7
* Intermediate — Portal Grade

Second Order
* Adeptus Minor 5=6
* Adeptus Major 6=5
* Adeptus Exemptus 7=4

Third Order
* Magister Templi 8=3
* Magus 9=2
* Ipsissimus 10=1

To quote Wikipedia:

The paired numbers attached to the Grades relate to positions on the Tree of Life. The Neophyte Grade of “0=0″ indicates no position on the Tree. In the other pairs, the first numeral is the number of steps up from the bottom (Malkuth), and the second numeral is the number of steps down from the top (Kether).

The First Order Grades were related to the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, respectively. The Aspirant to a Grade received instruction on the metaphysical meaning of each of these Elements and had to pass a written examination and demonstrate certain skills to receive admission to that Grade.

The Portal Grade was an “Invisible” or in-between grade separating the First Order from the Second Order.[36] The Circle of existing Adepts from the Second Order had to consent to allow an Aspirant to be initiated as an Adept and join the Second Order.

The Second Order was not, properly, part of the “Golden Dawn”, but a separate Order in its own right, known as the R.R. et A.C. The Second Order directed the teachings of the First Order and was the governing force behind the First Order.

After passing the Portal, the Aspirant was instructed in the techniques of practical magic. When another examination was passed, and the other Adepts consented, the Aspirant attained the Grade of Adeptus Minor (5=6). There were also four sub-Grades of instruction for the Adeptus Minor, again relating to the four Outer Order grades.

Great Work

[greyt werk] The Great Work is a term of Thelema that refers to one’s calling or life purpose, and can be thought of in a sense as one’s destiny. There is a common understanding that one’s Great Work is the contribution one is fated to make to the world while alive, yet the Great Work refers more to the process of self-transformation and personal evolution. These things are not mutually exclusive, however.

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