Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fire and Earth in the Zelator Grade

Microcosmically, Malkuth or earth is attributed to the 1 = 10 grade of Zelator. In the Outer Order of the GD, the elements are often mingled in opposition, like the path-sphere opposites in Theoricus, Practicus and Philosophus, and in the Zelator Initiation it is no different. In 1 = 10 the mystery of how the fire element as the spark of life within the earth is explored.

This symbolism is repeated by the red socks and the black robe, as the entire Outer Order in a sense quitteth not Malkuth. The admission badge of a Zelator is the Hermetic Cross, which is indeed a symbol of Kether. This cross is oft described as 17 squares, but laid out on a 5 x 5 grid, which is of course the Mars Qamea, and Mars and the fifth sphere of Geburah are indeed fiery. In the ritual, the red lamp placed on the Zelator altar reiterates this 'fire within' paradigm. For the occult interpretation of the name Zelator given in that grade as the zealous student who blows the fire of the alchemist.

The last point is important because it is the fire in an alchemical experiment which subdivides the four elements and the three philosophic elements, providing the energy for the solve part of the solve et coagula equation. Solve is a process which begins in the Outer Order, which is why the symbols on the altar are but various configurations of the GD Order's symbol. The heat is dividing the various portions of the magician's soul into their undivided elemental forms, shown by the various configurations of the holy symbols. This journey through the elements of the grades finally reveals in Philosophus, the highest grade of the Outer Order: the symbol of Sulpher.

We can further reflect on this supposed fire-within-the-earth GD teaching with a little sidebar exploration into the philosophy and work of other prominent adepts of the order, AE Waite and PF Case. So let us momentarily consider their non-GD Fool cards. While the Fool symbolizes air in the GD, but both Aleph and Shin can represent the fiery life breath or element of spirit in the BOTA interpretations, and the version of the Sepher Yetzirah attributions also used by the GD.

There is a little more illustrated in the Rider and BOTA Fools about this fire-earth relationship. Waite and PF Case garb the Fool in the four colors of Malkuth, but place red in the lining of the jacket. This is no accident, intimating the inner fire within the earth, a relationship between opposites.

Furthermore, the red of Aries, over the feet of Pisces has an occult link to the Shewbread tablet found in the Zelator grade. This place between the beginning and end of the Zodiac is located by following the top point of the pentagram. It is one and the same as the place that marks the top and the bottom of the color spectrum, it is therefore past the realms of what the human eye can see. The first unseen bands of rays at these two opposing ends are known to scientists as infrared and ultraviolet, and combined here at the uppermost point of the pentagram. Here they are supplied as as good a metaphor as any other symbol available to magicians for the unseen and ultimately unknowable nature of spirit.


  1. A very good essay! I concur with what you have found in the Zelator Ritual. You obviously know a great deal about the principles of alchemy. I would like to add that fire both separates and later unites the Elements or alchemical Principles.

    This links ot the old alchemical adage bourn upon our Rose Cross Lamens, hidden in the letters I.N.R.I., that "the whole of nature is renewed by fire".

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe

  2. Thank you, I have my moments.

    I think the alchemical theme definitely continues into the second order, this short essay focused on the 1 = 10. I am looking forward to writing more.