In esoteric terms, an adept is viewed as an individual who has attained a specific level of knowledge, skill or aptitude in doctrines relevant to particular spiritual teachings, or occult organizations.
In the occult organizations/orders there are usually steps, which an initiate must ascend in order to obtain new levels of knowledge, and these are known as degrees or grades.
In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s initiatory system, an adept is one who has taken the oath of the 5=6 grade and has been granted the title of Adeptus Minor, which symbolically represents a spiritual aspirant who has mastered the union of the four elements under an upright and balanced spirit. According to Wikipedia:
“The Adeptus Minor is also granted passage from Portal of the Vault of the Adepti into the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz in the center of the Rosicrucian Mountain of Initiation, Abiegnus, at the center of the universe. The grade of Adeptus Minor and subsequent grades, Adeptus Major, and Adeptus Exemptus form the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, also called the Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (The Ruby Rose and Golden Cross). These grades correspond to the kabbalistic sephirah of Tiphereth, Geburah, and Chesed respectively.
The oath of the Adeptus Minor includes a provision to “unite myself with my higher and Divine Genius”, a process which is more commonly referred to (by way of Aleister Crowley) as Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. To undertake this process the Adeptus Minor must reconfirm the work of earlier grades (Zelator through Philosophus) with their newfound knowledge before passing to the Adeptus Major degree, as a full-fledged adept.“
Other systems which also take inspiration from the structure of the initiations through the Golden Dawn are the A.:.A.:., Temple of Set, and the Illuminates of Thanateros (see below).
- Probationer—The Order of the Golden Dawn–
- Dominus Liminis—The order of the RC (Rose Cross)–
- Adeptus Minor
- Adeptus Major
- Adeptus Exemptus
- Babe of the Abyss—The Order of the S. S. (Silver Star)–
- Magister Templi
- Setian ( First Degree )
- Adept ( Second Degree )
- Priest / Priestess ( Third Degree )
- Magister / Magistra Templi ( Fourth Degree )
- Magus / Maga ( Fifth Degree )
- Ipsissimus / Ipsissima ( Sixth Degree )
- 4° Neophyte
- 3° Initiate
- 2° Adept
- 1° Magus